Residents still concerned about homeless shelter

About a dozen east side residents turned out for a meeting at Columbus City Hall Wednesday night. Residents and business owners in the area surrounding the Brighter Days Homeless Shelter say that crime in the area has gone up and many fear to go outside alone. Many report finding discarded needles and drug paraphernalia littering their property. They want the shelter moved or better secured.

Mayor Jim Lienhoop, Police Chief John Rohde and Councilman Dascal Bunch spoke with those who attended. Rohde provided statistics showing crime in the area before the shelter was opened and now. That data indicated that crime-related calls from 2015 were largely unchanged in 2018. In fact, calls for burglaries and vandalism actually went down. In addition, Rohde noted an increased police presence in the area since concerns were raised earlier this year.

Chief Rohde says that police will continue to closely monitor the area. Councilman Bunch offered to meet monthly with the group and Mayor Lienhoop pledged to continue to work with residents and shelter staff to come to an understanding palatable to all parties.

City leaders and those in attendance agreed to meet again next spring. Shelter representatives will also be invited.